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Friday, July 16, 2021 - 12:39 PM by Chris Pike

SOUTH Fremantle will looking for an eighth consecutive win against Swan Districts at Steel Blue Oval on Saturday but more important to move a step closer to that top spot in the run home into the finals too.

South Fremantle has won its past two matches against Perth and Claremont to still be in third spot but with an 8-3 record they are only percentage off top spot and the Bulldogs could very well end the round in top spot should other results go their way.

Swans also come into the clash at home on the back of winning their past two matches to Subiaco and the West Coast Eagles by a combined three points, but the two thrilling victories have them solid inside the top five with a 7-4 record.

It looms as a fascinating battle on Saturday afternoon especially considering both teams haven’t played another at all since Round 5 last year when South Fremantle beat Swan Districts by 20 points at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

From there, the Bulldogs went on to win the premiership in 2020 while Swans missed out on playing finals and now they haven’t met yet in 2021 with their scheduled game for earlier in the season cancelled thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Not only is this the first meeting between the two teams since August 15 last year, it's the first time they've played at the Bassendean venue since Round 1, 2019.

South Fremantle has also enjoyed life against Swan Districts in recent times with the Bulldogs coming into Saturday's game on a seven-game winning streak against Swans with an average winning margin of 38.9 points.

South Fremantle has also won on its last two visits to Steel Blue Oval winning by four points in Round 1 last year and then by 30 points back in Round 19, 2018.

The last win for Swan Districts against South Fremantle came on home soil way back in Round 2, 2017 when the black-and-whites prevailed by 21 points. 

That 2017 season was the last time Swans have reached the finals as well and the Bulldogs ended up ending their campaign with an 80-point first semi-final hammering at Fremantle Community Bank Oval later in the year.

Saturday's game could be a significant one for both clubs though. South Fremantle will enhance their top two prospects with a win on Saturday while a loss will have the Bulldogs just fighting to cling to third position.

A win for Swan Districts would put them right in the hunt for a top three finish while a loss will make that job significantly harder especially given their percentage.

South Fremantle got over Claremont by a point last week and did so without captain Dylan Main, vice-captain Mason Shaw and premiership ruckman Brock Higgins.

Only Bernie Naylor Medallist Shaw will be right to return this Saturday to take on Swan Districts while exciting young forward Jesse Motlop will also make his league debut after earning a taste of senior football in the reserves last week.

South Fremantle coach Todd Curley isn't too concerned about not having played Swan Districts in so long, but knows they are going to a tough challenge.

"We did play them pre-season, though, so we did at least play them then but they've been really consistent and had a couple of really great wins the last couple of weeks," Curley said.

"Bar the West Perth where they weren’t at their best, they've been really impressive and consistent, and an improvement team. We know it's going to be a big test for us out there like it always is."

Jaxon Bellchambers and Matthew Ward have both been included into the squad for the Bulldogs as well after good form recently in the reserves. 

Swan Districts consolidated fourth position with their tight win over West Coast last week and now their defence gets a significant boost to take on South Fremantle with the return of 167-game veteran Alex Howard.

Jake Dugan, Nathan Ireland and Greg Ottaviano are the other players that the black-and-whites have added to their extended squad at this stage ahead of the clash with the Bulldogs.